How To Stop The Bee Population From Dying (Solutions To Save Bees)

How To Stop The Bee Population From Dying (Solutions To Save Bees)

There are various threats and factors that can lead to temporary decline of US honey bee numbers.

Other species of bees are subject to different threats, and there’s a very very small number of species of bees that are endangered (about 8 species out of 25,000) globally.

In this guide, we look at the various potential solutions to stop bee population decline and death.

 

Causes Of Bee Loss & Decline

We’ve already summarised that US honey bees are not currently endangered, or currently in danger of going extinct.

But, there are threats that can lead to temporary loss or decline of bee numbers. Read this guide for an outline of the causes of bee population loss and decline.

 

Obstacles To Identifying Exact Causes Of Bee Decline, and Implementing Solutions

Identifying the exact cause for temporary or permanent bee population numbers decline isn’t precise or easy. There are shortcomings and inaccuracies with doing so:

  • mechanisms for reporting colony losses and identifying the source of contamination are deficient and variable based on state and local government agencies
  • Although people on farms and in cities are ready and willing to take action to protect bees and other beneficial insects, their actions are impeded by a lack of financial incentives, lack of abundant seeds to plant pollinator habitat on large scales, and lack of education about ways to protect pollinators while applying pesticides.

– beelab.umn.edu

 

How To Stop The Bee Population From Dying (Solutions To Save Bees)

  • More effective pest management practices by beekeepers – of Varrora mites mainly, but also other pests like Acarina mites and hive beetles. In particular, better practices need to be implemented that deal with the resistance Varrora mites develop to miticides made to kill them.
  • Focus on bee diet and nutrition by beekeepers – some keepers are adding protein supplements, or making the diet more diverse than just sugar water or corn syrup and one monoculture crop. The problem with the current bee diet is that sugar water, or monoculture crops that bees go out to pollinate, might not have enough diversity or nutrition. When bees aren’t getting proper nutrition, their health suffers, they get weak, and other environmental threats and stressors can impact their well being and mortality (they become more susceptible to pesticides, mites, diseases and so on)
  • More focus on how miticides affect bees – miticides can impact bee health and their ability to function, but exactly to what extent and how to deal with this needs better clarification.
  • More focus on how synthetic seed/crop pesticides affect bees – crop pesticides can impact bee health and their ability to function (when bees go out to collect nectar and to fertilize/pollinate crops), but exactly to what extent and how to deal with this needs better clarification. It’s possible organic pesticides are explored in terms of their suitability, or current pesticides are improved more to become more safer
  • More effective communication between beekeepers and farmers whose crops are being pollinated – there needs to be more effective communication on the impact the pesticides are having on bees when they come back to hives – how do bees respond in the short and long term once coming back? Farmers (whose crops are pollinated by bees), and bee keepers can work together in this regard
  • More focus on how to prevent and manage bee diseases such as foulbrood and chalkbrood – could come from better nutrition, or better hive conditions
  • Protection of bee natural habitats – Habitat destruction occurs because of urbanization. Flower meadows are a favorite habitat of bees and other pollinators
  • Protection of bees against animal and plant threats – Threats such as non-native animals, non-native plant species, nonnative predators and so on
  • A focussed effort to restore bee numbers after natural events – such as hurricanes, tsunamis and drought
  • A focussed effort to restore bee numbers after other destructive events such as wildfires
  • A focussed effort to restore bee numbers after colder winter months
  • More study on the impact of changing global world temperatures (and possibly climate change) on bees – changing temperature can stress the physiology of bees, change their individual and hive behavior, change their feeding patterns, and force them to find more mild climates where there are less nutritious food sources available

 

beelab.umn.edu also propose how we might create more positive change for bees and other pollinator species:

  • [we can remove the above listed obstacles by] (1) developing better usage and incident reporting data systems; (2) generating more and better training for pesticide applicators; (3) increasing awareness about the importance of integrated pest management (IPM), both for pesticide applicators and beekeepers; and (4) modifying landscape practices to accommodate honey bees, native bees, and other beneficial insects would generate real and positive change.

 

acsh.org has some suggestions and observations for managing bee population numbers:

  • beekeepers have been able to adapt their managerial practices and repopulate their stocks when cold weather or virus-related losses occur. 
  • Winter losses can easily be replenished by splitting hives, but experts say that’s not the optimal solution; it would be better for bee stocks for overwinter losses to continue their recent decline.
  • Bee keepers can also charge higher prices for pollination services and honey (or they can find agricultural fields that will pay higher prices) – this incentivizes beekeepers to increase colony numbers

 

Sources

1. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/ask-mr-green/why-are-honeybees-dying

2. https://www.beelab.umn.edu/sites/beelab.umn.edu/files/spivakcast2017_bee_health.pdf

3. https://www.agdaily.com/crops/are-honey-bees-endangered/

4. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/are-bees-endangered-will-bees-go-extinct-in-the-future-the-truth-about-bee-population-numbers/

5. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/causes-of-bee-population-loss-decline/

6. https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/04/17/bee-apocalypse-was-never-real-heres-why-12851

Causes Of Bee Population Loss & Decline

Causes Of Bee Population Loss & Decline

You might have heard that bee numbers are declining …

In this guide, we outline the the causes of bee population loss and decline when it happens.

 

Firstly, Are Bee Population Numbers Actually Declining?

Yes, and no.

A very small number of species of bees are endangered in the world, but American honey bees are not yet on the endangered list, and neither are majority of bee species in the world.

 

Causes Of Bee Population Loss & Decline

It really depends on the region and bee species we are talking about when talking about causes of bee population loss and decline.

For example, the threats facing the Hawaiian yellow faced bees might be different threats facing US honey bees.

 

Causes Of Hawaiian Yellow Faced Bee Population Loss & Decline

  • [Hawaiian Yellow Face bee populations face] a wide variety of threats, including habitat destruction because of urbanization or non-native animals, the introduction of nonnative plant species, wildfires, nonnative predators and natural events such as hurricanes, tsunamis and drought.

– snopes.com

 

Causes Of US Honey Bee Population Loss & Decline

US honey bee population numbers temporarily dipped for a few years during the Colony Collapse Disorder trend (for roughly 3-5 years, with the first signs appearing in 2006 in California). But, since then they have been increasing, and have been steady overall throughout history.

There is no one single factor that causes bee numbers to drop (when they do), but rather a combination of factors (sierraclub.org).

In general, the threats and factors that cause US Honey Bee population numbers to drop when they do are thought to be:

Main causes 

  • Varrora mites that feast on bees, and the viruses these mites carry … they bring roughly a dozen different diseases into beehives, and the widely prevalent gut fungus, Nosema ceranae (acsh.org). They also bring a virus that deforms bees’ wings (sierraclub.org)
  • Poor nutrition in the bees’ diet … they don’t eat enough of a variety of nutritious food sources. They tend to get nutrition from one crop such as almonds which is farmed in a monoculture, and sugar water or corn syrup that beekeepers feed them) (acsh.org). They don’t get a variety of pollen that stimulates resistance to disease (sierraclub.org). The end result is that bees are weakened, and more susceptible to illness, disease and death from the other factors and causes.

Sub causes  

  • Pesticides … synthetic insecticides called neonicotinoids used to spray crop seeds – bees come into contact with these chemicals during pollination and carry it back to the hive. These types of pesticides have sometimes shown to short-circuit bees’ memory and navigation (sierraclub.org)
  • Insecticides used to kill varrora mites (also usually synthetic)

Other causes

  • Winter causing bee numbers to drop naturally compared to summer numbers
  • Colony collapse disorder (a short multi year period where US honey bee numbers decreased due to various factors)
  • Habitat loss of lower meadows because of urban development
  • Inexperienced amateur beekeepers having a higher bee loss rate than bigger or more professional beekeepers with more experience and resources
  • Acarina mites and hive beetles
  • Bee diseases such as foulbrood and chalkbrood (which are made higher risk by bees having a poor diet)
  • Climate change and a changing global average temperature (although this is more a ‘maybe cause than a definite cause) – changing temperatures can push bees’ physiological limits, change hive behavior, can change their eating and feeding patterns, and can force them to go find new habitats where it’s more mild in temperature

 

sierraclub.org describes the temporary honey bee decline this way:

  • It’s likely that it’s [the loss of bees] not GMOs, cellphones, ultraviolet lights, electromagnetic radiation
  • It more likely to be a combination of factors that include parasites, pathogens, pesticides, poor nutrition, and habitat loss

 

beeinformed.org describes a 44% decline in 2015/16 as:

  • … many factors are contributing to colony losses. A clear culprit is the varroa mite, a lethal parasite that can easily spread between colonies. 
  • Pesticides and malnutrition caused by changing land use patterns are also likely taking a toll, especially among commercial beekeepers
  • Varroa is a particularly challenging problem among backyard beekeepers (defined as those who manage fewer than 50 colonies).

 

In regards to some people claiming pesticides are the main cause of honey bee deaths, agdaily.com writes this:

  • … despite over a decade of study, it’s still yet to be proven that they’re [pesticides] playing a significant role in honeybee deaths

 

beelab.umn.edu express how important bee health and nutrition is to fighting off other causes of bee sickness and death:

  • pollen and nectar collected from flowering plants that contain nutrients necessary for growth and survival. Honey bees with access to better and more complete nutrition exhibit improved immune system function and behavioral defenses for fighting off effects of pathogens and pesticides
  • Bee colonies are chronically exposed to parasitic mites, viruses, diseases, miticides, pesticides, and poor nutrition, which weaken and make innate defenses insufficient at overcoming these combined stressors
  • Colonies that are chronically weakened can be even more susceptible to infections and levels of pesticide exposure that might otherwise be innocuous, further promoting a downward spiral of health.
  • Sick and weakened bees diminish the colony’s resiliency, ultimately leading to a breakdown in the social structure, production, efficiency, immunity, and reproduction of the colony, and eventual or sudden colony death

 

beelab.umn.edu also express how it can be difficult to pin point what the main causes of bee decline might be in a particular area over a multi year period:

  • mechanisms for reporting colony losses and identifying the source of contamination are deficient and variable based on state and local government agencies

 

Sources

1. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/are-bees-endangered-will-bees-go-extinct-in-the-future-the-truth-about-bee-population-numbers/

2. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/bee-species-endangered/

3. https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/04/17/bee-apocalypse-was-never-real-heres-why-12851

4. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/ask-mr-green/why-are-honeybees-dying

5. https://beeinformed.org/2016/05/10/nations-beekeepers-lost-44-percent-of-bees-in-2015-16/

6. https://www.agdaily.com/crops/are-honey-bees-endangered/

7. https://www.beelab.umn.edu/sites/beelab.umn.edu/files/spivakcast2017_bee_health.pdf

8. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/nu-ccl062618.php

9. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-23/bee-death-increase-may-be-tied-to-climate-change-survey-says

Are Bees Endangered, & Will Bees Go Extinct In The Future? (The Truth About Bee Population Numbers)

Are Bees Endangered, & Will Bees Go Extinct In The Future? (The Truth About Bee Population Numbers)

There’s been some bold claims made in various publications about bee population numbers.

In this guide, we summarise where bees are actually endangered, at risk of extinction, and what the real truth about bee population numbers might be.

 

Summary – The Truth About Bee Population Numbers, Being Endangered & Extinction

Are bees in danger of going extinct in the future? 

The positive news it that it’s very unlikely (for majority of species of bees) … despite what you might have read that says otherwise.

Endangered species warnings for bee species in the past have not been issued for US honeybee populations (the ones that pollinate majority of US crops).

In addition to that, the decrease in US bee population numbers due to Colony Collapse Disorder that you might have heard about recently was a short term trend that only lasted a few years (about 3-5 years, between 2006 to 2011), and bee colony numbers have actually increased in the years since that time.

 

Are Bees Endangered?

  • [On 30 September 2016] Seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees were recently added to the endangered species list
  • … it is the first time any bee species from the United States has been listed as an endangered species
  • [it is believed endangerment was caused by] a wide variety of threats, including habitat destruction because of urbanization or non-native animals, the introduction of nonnative plant species, wildfires, nonnative predators and natural events such as hurricanes, tsunamis and drought.
  • [But] … Bees as a class of insect have not been added to the endangered species list.

– snopes.com

 

agdaily.com also notes that recently, in addition to the Hawaiian yellow-faced bees, the Rusty patched bumble bee has been placed on the endangered list too. They note ‘habitat loss, natural disasters, and invasive species [are believed to be the causes].’

 

So, what is clear is that only a small number of species of bees (8) have been placed as endangered.

In reality, there are around 25,000 species of bees in the world, and around 400 species in the US alone (buzzaboutbees.net)

The US honey bee has not been placed [yet] on the endangered list.

This is important to note from an agricultural perspective:

  • One out of every three bites of food Americans consume comes from a plant pollinated by bees or other pollinators. Economically, it’s estimated that $15 billion crops annually are pollinated in the U.S., with bees doing almost 80 percent of the work. (siouxhoney.com)
  • [there are other pollinators that pollinate crops and plant life apart from bees too though]

 

Will Bees Go Extinct In The Future?

Whether or not Hawaiian yellow-faced bees go extinct will depend on how those species’ populations are managed and helped by humans, but also relies on natural factors too (the possible threats to the population numbers are listed in the above section).

In terms of honey bee population numbers – they don’t appear to be in any threat of extinction or even endangerment right now.

US, Canadian and Global honey bee colony numbers have either increased, or stayed stable, over time, and especially recently. Numbers and graphs can be found at:

  • https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/04/17/bee-apocalypse-was-never-real-heres-why-12851
  • https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/03/01/bees-shouldn%E2%80%99t-become-next-%E2%80%98fake-news%E2%80%99-victim-10927

 

Here are some quick numbers on the US honey population:

  • [a report in] 2017 show bee numbers sitting at a 20-year high. The research showed that since 2006, when CCD [colony collapse disorder] was identified, the number of honeybee colonies has risen, from 2.4 million that year to 2.7 million in 2014.
  • [furthermore] CCD, which lasted for about 3-5 years, is a sudden phenomenon in which the majority of worker bees mysteriously disappear. That problem, which showed up most dramatically in California, abated by 2011

– agdaily.com

 

The Truth About Bee Population Numbers, & The Factors That Impact Those Numbers

From the above information, we can summarise:

  • only a select number of species of bees were placed on the endangered list
  • honey bees have not been placed on the endangered list
  • only the bees placed on the endangered list could face a likely extinction at some point in the future if effort is not made to minimise risks to their well being

Ultimately, bee species differ from country to country (there’s even sub species of a main species).

To say bees in general are endangered or at risk of going extinct is not enough – it should be specified the species and country that is being discussed (instead of making general claims and statements about bees as a whole).

The threats and solutions to eliminating or minimising threats of bee species differ from place to place as well.

It is not always possible to say for sure what the main threat/s are to bee populations – sometimes only an educated guess can be made with research, observation and real time studies or tests.

 

Other Notes About Bees & Honey Bees

  • Honey bee loss is expected over the winter months
  • There’s different types of beekeepers – large commercial, intermediate, and backyard amateur beekeepers – all with different levels of expertise and resources
  • We can only get a measure on numbers of bees from colonies and hives of beekeepers – it’s impossible to measure wild bee numbers accurately
  • US, and global numbers of honey bees have stayed stable or increased over the long term
  • Honey bees are not actually native to the US – they were introduced from Europe 
  • Honey bees are bred for agriculture in a similar way as livestock. They are bred for honey, and to provide an agricultural services to pollinate farmers’ crops. Almonds are the major crop they pollinate in the US
  • Varrora mites, one of the main causes of bee death and decline (when numbers start to dip), can become very resistant to miticides – so, there can be significant problems trying to control them and eliminate them
  • Globally, bees pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crops. (bbc.com)
  • In the US, In 1988, honey sales accounted for 52 percent of beekeeper revenue while pollinator service fees made up less than 11 percent. Today, pollination service fees make up over 41 percent, the largest source of beekeeper revenue. Of that, 82 percent comes from almonds. (acsh.org)
  • There are other pollinator species other than bees – but, only a small number have hives that we can count numbers from
  • Different pollinators might be far better suited to pollinating certain plant and crop types than others – this is why when pollinators are forced to migrate to other habitats (because of threats or temperature change), both plant life and the bees themselves can suffer
  • The process of pollination involves bees flying to a plant or crop, collecting nectar, and fertilizing the plant of crop, and returning to the hive

 

Alternatives To Bees As Pollinators

  • According to theverge.com, robotic drone pollinators have been made – but have only been tested in laboratories so far. They are a long way off being ready for in field pollination
  • According to geneticliteracyproject.org, human pollination (by humans) is another option – whereby the pollinating is intentional 

 

Sources

1. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/bee-species-endangered/

2. https://www.buzzaboutbees.net/types-of-bees.html

3. https://siouxhoney.com/12-agriculture-crops-that-depend-on-honey-bees/

4. https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/04/17/bee-apocalypse-was-never-real-heres-why-12851

5. https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/03/01/bees-shouldn%E2%80%99t-become-next-%E2%80%98fake-news%E2%80%99-victim-10927

6. https://www.agdaily.com/crops/are-honey-bees-endangered/

7. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/ask-mr-green/why-are-honeybees-dying

8. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140502-what-if-bees-went-extinct

9. https://www.theverge.com/2017/2/9/14549786/drone-bees-artificial-pollinators-colony-collapse-disorder

10. https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2017/04/10/human-bees-biotechnologists-gates-foundation-rescuing-african-cassava-staple/

Most Important Plant Life: Plants & Trees That Help Humans (& Animals) Survive

Most Important Plant Life: Plants & Trees That Help Humans (& Animals) Survive

 

Plant life and trees are critical to the survival of humans.

We use plants for many uses critical aspects of society, and in this guide, we list the most important types of plants that help humans survive.

 

All Land Based Trees, Seaweed & Plant Life

All of the oxygen in our air that makes it breathable comes from two main sources – phytoplankton in the ocean (produces 50% of oxygen), and land based trees, seaweed and plant life (produces the other 50% of oxygen).

This oxygen is produced via the photosynthesis process.

Deforestation and the clearing and conversion of land are threats to the amount of land based plant life we have.

 

Rainforest Plant Life

Rainforests have many critical benefits and functions such as:

  • Providing biodiversity – having between 50 and 90 percent of the world’s species
  • Providing medicines – a quarter of all modern medicines came originally from rainforests
  • Providing food diversity
  • Helping to regulate climate – Tropical forests regulate global and regional climate-systems by acting as heat and water pumps
  • Helping to prevent flooding, soil loss and siltation

– rainforestinfo.org.au

 

Plants For Food & Agriculture

Plants used for food and agriculture, like fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses and so on, are extremely important for not only humans to eat, but also animals and livestock to eat.

Some of the most widely produced and valuable plant based crops to our economies and well being in the world are:

  • Sugar cane
  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Vegetables
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes
  • Fruit (bananas, apples etc.)
  • Coffee
  • + more

 

Plankton (phytoplankton and zooplankton)

Plankton includes both plants and animals (whoi.edu)

Some phytoplankton are bacteria, some are protists, and most are single-celled plants (earthobservatory.nasa.gov) … Phytoplankton, also known as microalgae, are similar to terrestrial plants in that they contain chlorophyll and require sunlight in order to live and grow (oceanservice.noaa.gov)

So, plankton could be classified as a plant or an animal.

Plankton absorb energy from the Sun and nutrients from the water

They are responsible for around half of the world’s oxygen production via photosynthesis

Plankton might be threatened in the long term if the world’s oceans keep warming. This could limit the amount of breathable air we have available in the future.

 

Fungi

Fungi are more closely related to animals than plants.

Read more about how important fungi are to humans and the environment in this guide.

 

Other Important Ways Humans Use Plant Life 

  • Clothing & textiles – we grow fibres such as cotton that we use for a range of textiles and clothing
  • Construction – wood, rubber and other plant based materials are used to build and construct items 
  • Industry – industrial plant crops, and plant material such as wood used in construction
  • Medicine – hundreds of medicines are derived from plants
  • Chemicals – pesticides, tobacco, and poisons can be derived from plants
  • Gardening – plants are used in gardening and growing for shade, to modify temperatures, reduce wind, abate noise, provide privacy, and prevent soil erosion
  • Science – basic biological research can be done with plants

 

Why Plants Are So Important In Nature, & To Balance The Ecosystem 

  • They are near the bottom of the food chain for all animals and organisms
  • They help maintain gaseous balance in the air
  • They help reduce heat and prevent drying up of moisture
  • They help prevent soil erosion
  • They help maintain soil fertility
  • They have a cooling effect on the atmosphere leading to rainfall
  • They provide habitats and homes for many species of animals

– studyread.com

 

Sources

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_uses_of_plants

2. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/most-important-animals-animals-that-help-humans-the-environment-survive-live/

3. https://www.studyread.com/importance-plants-life-earth/

4. https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/articles/zss9msg

5. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/Phytoplankton

6. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/phyto.html

7. https://www.whoi.edu/science/B/people/kamaral/plankton.html

8. https://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/good_wood/the_imp.htm

9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_valuable_crops_and_livestock_products

10. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/10-crops-that-feed-the-world-2011-9?r=US&IR=T#10-plantains-1

11. https://beef2live.com/story-top-10-largest-crops-world-0-142257

Most Important Animals: Animals That Help Humans (& The Environment) Survive & Live

Most Important Animals: Animals That Help Humans (& The Environment) Survive & Live

 

Obviously all animals are important and have value as a living creature.

But, this is a list of animals that are of particular importance because of the ways in which they help humans survive, and keep the environment in balance.

This list is important because more animal species are become endangered, threatened with extinction, or becoming totally extinct, by the day.

 

Summary – How The Most Important Animals Help Humans Survive & Live

Animals and microorganisms help humans survive and live both directly, and indirectly.

They help the environment and ecosystems to stay health and thrive, but they also provide direct benefits to humans in the form of products, services, or the activities they perform.

Animals can also studied for various reasons, with one example being to get an idea of environmental trends and activity.

So, there are plenty of evidence based reasons to keep animal population healthy and thriving … the environment, animals and humans are all interconnected and rely on each other.

Of the list below, it’s said plankton, bats, primates, fungi and bees might be most important. Of that shortened list, bees are probably most important (we rely on them for food and agriculture), followed by phytoplankton.

The list below is only a selection of some of the main animals and organisms helping humans, but there is likely a much longer list in reality.

 

Bees

Bees carry out pollination, which allows plants, flowers, and trees (that humans depend on) to survive and grow.

They also help us make honey.

Consider this stat about bees:

  • Insect pollination supports one-third of human crop growth, and of this number, honeybees are responsible for 80 percent. What sort of crops? Apples, nuts, avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers, strawberries and peaches (findingdulcinea.com)
  • … livestock also depend on bees to pollinate the food they eat (findingdulcinea.com)
  • … bees pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world (bbc.com)

Losing bees not only means humans and animals might starve, but it has a huge financial impact too:

  • The total worldwide economic value of pollination has been estimated to be around £130 billion a year, and that is without the honey and wax that bees also produce.

– telegraph.co.uk

  • bees pollinate more than $15 billion-worth of crops in the US every year, including apples, berries, cucumbers, and almonds

– theverge.com

But, it should be noted that in the US in particular – the long term population numbers of honey bees are not thought to be major concern yet.

 

Plankton (phytoplankton and zooplankton)

Plankton are microscopic organisms that can be found in the ocean, and they can actually be classified as plants and animals.

Plankton absorb energy from the Sun and nutrients from the water

They are responsible for around half of the world’s oxygen production via photosynthesis. The other half comes from on land seaweed, plant life and trees. 

Plankton might be threatened in the long term if the world’s oceans keep warming. This could limit the amount of breathable air we have available in the future.

 

Primates

Primates are important ecologically in tropical and sub-tropical climates.

They disperse seeds and pollen via eating, defecating and other activities.

They help keep rainforests healthy, diverse and thriving, and this is important because tropical rainforests can influence global rainfall patterns.

 

Butterflies

Butterflies serve two main benefits to humans:

  • they pollinate (good for trees, plants etc.)
  • but, they can also be studied to indicate to scientists what is going on in the environment and with the climate. Butterflies tend to migrate to other areas when temperatures are rising, and migrate away to more mild climates. So, butterflies help scientists with their study

 

Bats

Bats are one of the largest consumers of insects – so they help us control insect populations

Insects have the ability to decimate crops and plant life if not controlled – especially pest type insects.

They can also help control mosquito populations in areas where malaria and other mosquito borne diseases and viruses might be a problems.

Deforestation and habitat loss are a threat to bats right now.

Nectar eating bats can also help pollinate, and, bat droppings help in seed dispersal and helping plants grow and stay diverse.

 

Dogs

The number of services that dogs provide to us forms a long list.

We have service dogs that work for the police and military, guide dogs that help the blind, assistance dogs that help people with disabilities, dogs trained to sense seizures + more.

Dogs are also shown in numerous studies to be beneficial to our mental health, and can even support people with mental health issues like depression, anxiety and more. They can also help combat the effects of loneliness.

 

African Giant Rats

Humans have really manufactured the need for help from African Giant Rats ourselves through our actions.

African Giant pouched rats help sniff out landmines. 

Dogs were previously used, but there were issues with cost and transport.

  • [since] 1997, these [rats] have helped clear 13,200 mines from minefields in Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, and, most recently, in Cambodia.

– news.nationalgeographic.com

 

Earthworms & Ants

Both these animals dig tunnels in and naturally till the soil – helping air and water (and nutrients) to get into the soil and also near plant roots.

They also help decompose organic matter – which is good for the nutrient supply of soil.

Worms in particular are fantastic for composting.

Ants also participate in seed harvesting and carrying, and kill off pest species like the Fly, flea, and bed bug eggs, larvae, or nymphs

 

Frogs

Like butterflies – frogs can be an indicator (called a bio-indicator) of the health of the ecosystem, or and indicator of what is happening in that ecosystem.

Frogs absorb environmental substances through their skin.

Changes to a frog’s skin can indicate what is happening in that environment, or it can also indicate toxic substances in the environment if frogs are having health problems or dying.

 

Fungi

Fungi are more closely related to animals than plants (so we will list them as animals).

Fungi serve two main huge benefits:

  • helping plants to obtain the nutrients and water from the soil around them – Rather than directly sucking these essential building blocks of life into its roots, plants have to rely upon the fungi to gather it for them from the surrounding soil (mycorrhiza fungi do this)
  • being a main nutrient recycler by helping decompose dead plants and animals into nutrients

– listverse.com

 

Fish

Fish and sea dwelling animals have two significant roles in society:

  • seafood supplies a large portion of the world’s food supply
  • fish excrement can significantly reduce the acidity of oceans – which helps to reduce the impact of climate change

– listverse.com

 

Birds

Birds do a number of things for the environment and ecosystem:

  • insect control, forest decomposition, nutrient recycling, pollination and seed sowing, and soil aeration.

– listverse.com

 

Animals Used For Food

A controversial subject that is uncomfortable to talk about.

In developed countries, we get calories, nutrients and other intakes we need through the animals we eat.

Some people are unable to eat a vegetarian or vegan based diet because of logistical reasons, but also because of deficiencies or health conditions they might have – which makes animal meat essential to their diet.

 

Animals Used To Make Products & Medicine

Another controversial subject that can be uncomfortable to talk about.

We use animals directly, or their by products, to make many of the products and medicine we use today.

Examples of this are

  • cows used for leather, silkworms used for silk, sheep used for wool (using animals for clothes and textiles)
  • snakes used for anti-venom, and a range of animals for a range of drugs and medicine.

 

Animals Used For Income

Technically, animals used in agriculture and products are used for income.

But, directly, animals are used for income in tourism, movies, entertainment and more.

There are of course exploitations of using animals for income, but there are also ethical ways to make money from animals such as ethical elephant sanctuaries in South East Asia, or ethical reserves for safaris in Africa.

These animals can support people’s entire livelihoods.

 

Animals Used For Testing

Yet another controversial subject that can be uncomfortable to talk about.

Every year, 26 million animals are used in the US alone for animal testing (animal-testing.procon.org).

Majority of people don’t want to see animals harmed or made to suffer.

But, even though animals have been tested on for non essential consumer products such as cosmetics, they have also been used for testing that has claimed to have saved the lives of humans. 

Animal testing has been used in the past to help discover insulin, test the polio vaccine, and in major advances in understanding and treating conditions such as breast cancer, brain injury, childhood leukemia, cystic fibrosis, malaria, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, and many others (animal-testing.procon.org).

We’ve even sent animals into space in the past, and some of the leaders of society are talking about how space exploration is going to be so important to our future if we exhaust living conditions and resources on Earth.

 

The Importance Of Plant Life & Trees To Animals & Humans

Humans and animals wouldn’t be able to survive without certain plant life and trees – you can read more about the most important plant life and trees in this guide.

 

Sources

1. https://www.thedodo.com/archive/animals-that-humans-need-for-survival

2. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/ask-mr-green/why-are-honeybees-dying

3. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/will-the-world-run-out-of-breathable-air-in-the-future/

4. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/10/151006-giant-rats-landmines-cambodia-science-animals/ 

5. http://listverse.com/2019/03/10/10-animals-humans-need-to-survive/

6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fungus

7. https://animal-testing.procon.org/

8. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/animals-that-help-us-to-survive/

9. http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/science/environment/Five-Animals-We-Need-to-Survive.html

10. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/wildlife/3463912/The-animals-and-plants-we-cannot-live-without.html

11. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2008/nov/14/endangeredspecies-conservation

12. https://www.nativevillage.org/Archives/2011%20Archives/APRIL%202011%20NEWS/Irreplaceable%20-%20the%20world’s%20most%20invaluable%20species.htm

13. https://www.theverge.com/2017/2/9/14549786/drone-bees-artificial-pollinators-colony-collapse-disorder

14. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140502-what-if-bees-went-extinct

Before Surrendering Or Giving Up Your Pet – Try These Options First

Before Surrendering Or Giving Up Your Pet - Try These Options First

 

It might be you, or it might be a friend or family member that is thinking about surrendering or giving up their pet.

Before it gets to that stage, read this list of options that can be tried first which might help in allowing an owner to keep their pet.

 

1. Call a pet support program in your area

A lot of people might give up their pet due to financial challenges.

Pet support programs can do a range of things such as offering discounted or free basic vet services, spaying and neutering, obedience/behavioral training, temporary pet boarding and fostering, and more.

In the US, two examples are the ASPCA launched “Safety Net” program, and another is the program run by the Animal Humane Society.

Read more on them at:

  • https://www.aspca.org/blog/new-study-spotlights-need-help-people-keep-their-pets
  • https://www.nextavenue.org/why-people-give-up-beloved-pets/
  • https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/about/2018-annual-report

 

2. Search for pet food banks and other pet support initiatives

Pet food banks are one example of initiatives set up to provide help to pets and pet owners in need.

Do an online search for local pet related help initiatives in your area.

 

3. Read your local pet surrender portal, or call your local pet helpline

Do an online search for pet portals or pet surrender hotlines in your country or state.

RSPCA Queensland has a pet portal, and the Animal Human society has a pet helpline – both as examples.

Both services (portals and helplines) help pet owners know their options are that might help them keep their pet, when they are thinking of surrendering their pets.

Read more on each service at:

  • https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/blog/breaking-news/top-reasons-people-surrendered-their-pets-2017
  • https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/pet-helpline

 

4. Ask yourself the exact reason, or reasons that you want to give up your pet, and ask yourself what the solution/s might be

There are a list of top reasons and solutions to go along with those reasons when it comes to giving up pets.

Have a read of these guides and the resources listed in them:

You can also do a search engine search for your exact problem, and see if there is a short term and long term solution for it that you haven’t yet considered.

 

5. Pursue the option of re-homing before animal shelters, or euthanasia 

Pet helplines, portals, animal care organisations, and even animal shelters can all help you find out the easiest and best ways to go about rehoming your pet to a loving home.

When the other options are shelters or euthanasia – it makes much more sense to re-home.

 

6. Call your breeder, and ask if they can help in any way

Responsible breeders (if you bought your dog from a breeder) will want to help if you need to give up your pet for any reason.

It can be worth giving them a call and explaining your situation and seeing if there is anything they can help you with.

Some breeders even offer to take back dogs and re-home them themselves.

 

Sources

1. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/reasons-why-people-give-up-their-pets-re-home-abandon-euthanize-give-up-to-shelters-rescues/

2. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/problems-of-pet-abandonment-overpopulation-pets-entering-animal-shelters-stats-impact-effects-cost/

3. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/solutions-to-how-to-stop-animal-pet-overpopulation-abandonment-shelter-rescue-overcrowding/

The Problems Of Pet Abandonment, Overpopulation, & Pets Entering Animal Shelters: Stats, Impact/Effects, Cost

The Problems Of Pet Abandonment, Overpopulation, & Pets Entering Animal Shelters: Stats, Impact/Effects, Cost

 

Pet abandonment & overpopulation, as well as the number of pets entering animal shelters each year are big problems.

In this guide, we outline the size of the issues with stats, outline the impact and effects, and also what it costs society.

We also look at solutions that are working to address the issues.

 

Summary Of Pet Abandonment, Overpopulation, & Pets Entering Animal Shelters

  • The number of pets abandoned and/or going to animal shelters everywhere is in the millions just in developed countries
  • Roughly a quarter to a third of all animals that enter animal shelters are euthanized in some countries
  • There is a large financial and social cost to stray pets, and abandoned pets
  • There are already solutions available to the above problems that are helping more owners retain their pets

 

Stats On Stray Animals In The US

  • There are about 70 million stray animals living in the U.S

– onegreenplanet.org

 

Stats On Re-Homing Of Pets Annually

  • [In the US] … on average, more than one million owners re-home their pets each year.

– aspca.org

 

Stats On Pets Entering Animal Shelters Annually

  • … the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that 5–7 million pets are admitted to shelters each year in the US

– ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

 

  • More than 100,000 dogs and more than 30,000 cats enter animal shelters annually in Spain

– ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

 

Stats On Pets Being Euthanized Annually

  • Of the estimated 7.6 million animals who enter animal shelters each year, approximately 2.7 million are euthanized

– aspca.org

 

Stats On Pet Shelter Adoption & Returning Pets To Their Owners

In the US:

  • Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats).
  • About 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 620,000 are dogs and only 90,000 are cats.

 

Stats On Total Pet Ownership Numbers In The US

Read more at https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

 

Financial Cost Of Stray Pets To Society

  • … the care of stray pets carries a large public and private cost (e.g. $2 billion per year in the in the US) 

– ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

 

  • [for] the impoundment, sheltering, euthanasia and subsequent disposal of homeless animals – U.S. taxpayers shell out between one to two billion dollars annually.

– onegreenplanet.org

 

  • It costs approximately $150 to capture, house, feed, and eventually kill each stray animal – a cost which you, the taxpayer, eventually pay.

– petsforliferescue.rescuegroups.org

 

Other Impacts & Effects Of Abandoned Or Given Up Pets On Society

  • The physical and mental suffering of the pet. In extreme cases when owners are told they will have to wait or pay to drop a pet off at an animal shelter – animals can be tortured or killed in brutal ways. Read more at https://www.peta.org/issues/animal-companion-issues/animal-shelters/
  • The suffering of the owner and family members (especially children)
  • Council resources allocated to managing stray animals
  • Human resources (time and money) allocated to managing and caring for stray and shelter animals
  • The cost to vets who have to subsidize their services to help others out

 

Reasons Why People Give Up Their Pets

Read more on the reasons why people surrender or give up, or even re-home their pets in this guide.

 

Solutions To Pet Abandonment, Overpopulation, & Overcrowding Of Animal Shelters

We’ve already written a guide outlining how we might decrease the rates of pet abandonment, overpopulation, and overcrowding of animal shelters.

Some interesting approaches and solutions that have already shown to work in real life scenarios are:

 

Pet Owner Support Programs

One example is the ASPCA launched a “Safety Net” program, and another example is the program run by the Animal Humane Society.

The Safety Net program for example has obtained data that up to 80% of the people they help end up keeping their pets in the short/early term [but there is no long term data we could find yet].

Read more on them at:

  • https://www.aspca.org/blog/new-study-spotlights-need-help-people-keep-their-pets
  • https://www.nextavenue.org/why-people-give-up-beloved-pets/
  • https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/about/2018-annual-report

It’s been found in one survey that up to 80% of people are unaware of the resources out there to help support them and their pets, but up to 88% choose to pursue finding out about resources rather than going straight to surrendering their pet (aspcapro.org)

 

Pet Portals & Hotlines

RSPCA Queensland has a pet portal, and the Animal Human society has a pet helpline.

Both services help pet owners know their options when they are thinking of surrendering their pets.

Some results achieved from the pet portal are:

  • There has been 22% fewer surrenders from 2016-2017
  • Each pet that is surrendered to the RSPCA costs about $25/day to care for and the surrender portal have saved the RSPCA an estimated $800,000 in animal care costs
  • For every 9.59 views on the Surrender Portal, there was one pet owner that changed their mind about surrendering their pet

Read more on each service at:

  • https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/blog/breaking-news/top-reasons-people-surrendered-their-pets-2017
  • https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/pet-helpline

 

Sources

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4494419/

2. https://www.aspca.org/blog/new-study-spotlights-need-help-people-keep-their-pets

3. https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/disaster-cruelty-animal-cruelty/costs-caring-seized-animals

4. https://petsforliferescue.rescuegroups.org/info/display?PageID=9515

5. https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/aspca-report-pets-given-up-to-shelters_n_56896846e4b06fa68882a134

6. https://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/pets-relinquished-shelters/

7. https://www.nextavenue.org/why-people-give-up-beloved-pets/

8. https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/blog/breaking-news/top-reasons-people-surrendered-their-pets-2017 

9. https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/about/2018-annual-report

10. https://www.peta.org/issues/animal-companion-issues/animal-shelters/

11. https://www.aspcapro.org/blog/2015/12/16/we-cant-fix-poverty-we-can-fix-%E2%80%A6

12. https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

13. https://www.aspca.org/about-us/press-releases/more-1-million-households-forced-give-their-beloved-pet-each-year-aspca

14. https://www.americanhumane.org/position-statement/animal-population-control/

15. https://blogs.uoregon.edu/ladislayw15gateway/

16. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/pet-abandonment-up-adopti_n_349626

17. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/12-alarming-facts-about-pet-homelessness/

18. https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/pet-helpline

Solutions To (How To Stop) Pet Abandonment, Overpopulation & Shelter/Rescue Overcrowding

Solutions To (How To Stop) Pet Abandonment, Overpopulation & Shelter/Rescue Overcrowding

Pet abandonment, overpopulation and shelter/rescue overcrowding are problems many people would like to solve.

In this guide, we look at the ways we might be able to decrease the rates of these problems.

 

Summary – How To Decrease The Rate Of Pet Abandonment, & Overcrowding In Animals Shelters & Rescues

Some of the main solutions addressing the main reasons leading to pet abandonment might include:

  • Decrease the number of pets being bred, and the number of pet breeders in total
  • Increase the level of responsibility a breeder and owner has in providing a home for a pet for the pet’s entire life
  • Increase adoption and rescue rates of pets in shelters and rescues 
  • Increase the number of pets being spayed and neutered (to prevent unwanted births and litters)
  • Focus particularly on helping or educating the main groups of people at risk of giving up their pets – low income earners earning less than $50,000 a year, and those living in rental homes or those with housing issues such as a lack of space. Older people over 65 can also sometimes fit in these groups
  • Provide more funding to assistance programs that help these groups of people in particular, but also other people with short and long term issues they are facing with keeping their pets. These programs can help with low cost or free pet health and veterinary care, spaying and neutering, pet behavioral/obedience training, pet supplies and food, pet boarding (for people moving house or going away for a period of time), rental housing pet deposits, and so on
  • Particularly focus on dogs between 5 months and 3 years of age (make up 40 to 47% of dogs surrendered), and dogs owned between 7 months to 1 year (make up 30 to 37% of dogs surrendered (petfinder.com)
  • More education and awareness on, and more legal regulations introduced that support and enforce the above points

We put together a list outline the main reasons why people give up their pets in the first place.

Understanding these reasons can help us figure out where to focus our attention, time and money in preventing people giving up pets, but also decreasing pet overpopulation, homelessness, abandonment and overcrowding in animal shelters and rescues.

 

1. Better regulations and more restrictions on pet breeding 

A huge reason there are so many pets given up or sent to animal shelters and rescues every year is because of the number of pets being bred by breeders. This increases the number of pets that need to be cared for, and as a consequence, the number of pets that are given up.

Some breeders are responsible and care their animals find forever homes, but, some sell purely for profit.

Reducing the number of breeders overall (especially backyard breeders and pet shops), and better regulating of who is allowed to breed dogs (and how), is one solution to this problem.

 

2. Better screening and testing of potential buyers/owners

Certain groups of people are significantly more likely (according to surveys and reports conducted on pet abandonment) to give up their pets.

These groups are low income earners (earning $50,000 or less), and those living in communities with high poverty rates.

Introducing an income test (provide evidence of past pay cheques for example) for prospective owners and pet buyers is one way to address this risk.

With renters being another group of concern, and also those with a lack of housing space or those with housing issues that are incompatible with keeping a pet – there could also be a screening process and testing for these groups of people to see that the dog is suitable for a particular living situation.

 

3. Consider mandatory enforcement of ethical/responsible pet networks and associations

There are already ethical pet networks/associations out there that match responsible breeders with responsible owners.

A requirement of some of these associations is that breeders and/or owners have to commit to a lifelong re-homing program for pets i.e. the pets are never without a home.

An example of one of these associations is the Australian Association of Pet Dog Breeders.

 

4. Better enforcement of responsible spaying and neutering of pets

Not desexing pets means a higher incidence rate of unwanted litters and unwanted births.

More awareness around this and subsidized spaying and neutering services could help solve this issue.

In some reports, approximately half of the pets (42.8% of dogs; 50.8% of cats) surrendered were not neutered (petfinder.com)

 

5. Pet retention and support programs

These have already proved to be hugely beneficial – increasing pet retention by as high as 80%.

They offer assistance to owners in need via low cost or free pet support services such as:

  • health care and veterinary services,
  • registration and microchipping,
  • spaying and neutering,
  • vaccines and medicine,
  • obedience/behavioral training and socialisation,
  • pet supplies and dog food (pet food banks)
  • pet boarding and temporary stay or foster services,
  • paying for pet deposits in rentals,
  • giving advice on how to deal with pet allergies
  • having rehabilitation programs for dogs with aggression issues
  • …and so on.

One example is the ASPCA launched a “Safety Net” program, and another example is the program run by the Animal Humane Society.

In regards to vet help and obedience help in particular, some surrendered pet studies show:

  • Many of the pets relinquished (33% of dogs; 46.9% of cats) had not been to a veterinarian.
  • Most dogs (96%) had not received any obedience training

 

6. Teach people what their options are for affording veterinary care, or emergency veterinary care

There can be more affordable ways to get veterinary care for pets that people aren’t aware of – and knowing your options in regards to pet health services can certainly help.

Read more about working with vets, financial assistance, and fundraising and temporary credit at https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/having-trouble-affording-veterinary-care?referrer=https%3A//www.google.com/

 

7. More awareness about the importance of pet insurance

Pet insurance can save thousands in the event of an emergency.

There are affordable options out there, but there needs to be more awareness around it. Breeders and vets might play a role in this.

 

8. More awareness about increasing the rate of adoption and rescue 

Existing animal shelters and adoption places need to continue to empty out (so resources and money/time can be directed to solving other pet problems)

Increasing awareness about how potential owners can find suitable pets might be one way to achieve this.

 

9. Have pet support helplines, and last stop pet surrender portals – for people who are thinking about giving up their pet/s

Support lines and pet portals have already been shown to help owners assess their options when thinking about giving up their pet, and know the resources that are available to them to help them keep their pet/s.

In many cases, these services have helped drastically improve pet retention rates.

Read more about pet portals at https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/blog/breaking-news/top-reasons-people-surrendered-their-pets-2017

Read more about pet helpines at https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/pet-helpline

 

10. Educate owners on re-homing, and also advance planning for their pet/s

Re-homing may be the only option for some owners – people should know how to do this in an easy but responsible way so they don’t have to resort to shelters and rescues.

Furthermore, some owners might age, or experience mental or physical challenges that render them incapable of caring for their pet for a period of time.

Advance planning the care of your pet in the event something happens to you one way to address this.

Speak to friends, family or start researching re-homing programs and options.

 

11. Increase education and awareness on what owning a pet for the entirety of its life entails

Some people just have no idea what is required to own a pet.

Breeders might produce standard documents in the future for owners to sign that shows they have read, understood and accepted the financial, time, exercise, socialisation and other responsibilities and investments that owners with have to take on and make.

 

12. Increase the number of pet friendly rentals, or explore the need for wider acceptance of pet bond deposits

This is a tricky one because landlords have a right to refuse pets on their properties.

But, increasing the number of pet friendly rentals and having a wider acceptance of pet bonds/deposits could help more owners keep their pets.

 

13. More funding to pet surrender and support programs

Programs like the ones mentioned above that provide basic pet care services and basic support for owners thinking of giving up their pets need more money.

More funding would help more pets stay out of shelters and rescues, and help less pets be euthanized.

 

Sources

1. http://animalallianceok.org/reduce-pet-overpopulation/

2. https://www.aspca.org/blog/new-study-spotlights-need-help-people-keep-their-pets

3. https://www.thedodo.com/why-people-surrender-pets-1532254030.html

4. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/having-trouble-affording-veterinary-care?referrer=https%3A//www.google.com/

5. https://www.thestar.com/life/2014/03/21/pet_food_banks_help_keep_beloved_dogs_and_cats_out_of_shelters.html

6. https://prime.peta.org/2018/09/why-people-abandon-animals

7. https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/aspca-report-pets-given-up-to-shelters_n_56896846e4b06fa68882a134

8. https://www.nextavenue.org/why-people-give-up-beloved-pets/

9. https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/blog/breaking-news/top-reasons-people-surrendered-their-pets-2017

10. https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/about/2018-annual-report

11. https://www.peta.org/issues/animal-companion-issues/animal-shelters/

12. https://www.aspcapro.org/blog/2015/12/16/we-cant-fix-poverty-we-can-fix-%E2%80%A6

13. https://www.aspca.org/about-us/press-releases/more-1-million-households-forced-give-their-beloved-pet-each-year-aspca 

14. https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/pet-helpline 

15. https://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/pets-relinquished-shelters/ 

16. https://www.americanhumane.org/position-statement/animal-population-control/

Reasons Why People Give Up Their Pets (Re-Home, Abandon, Euthanize, & Give Up To Shelters/Rescues)

Reasons Why People Give Up Their Pets (Re-Home, Abandon, Euthanize, & Give Up To Shelters/Rescues)

Every year, millions of animals are given up, or abandoned by their owners.

In this guide, we look at the main reasons why people give up their pets – whether the pet ends up re-homed, or left to a shelter or animal rescue.

(We’ve also put a guide together outlining some of the potential solutions to, and ways to stop these pet abandonment problems)

 

Summary – Top Reasons Why People Give Up Their Pets

Surveys and feedback from shelter volunteers shows that the main reasons are:

  • Having a low income and living in communities with high poverty rates (owner is unable to afford to pay pet expenses like veterinary care, or buy pet supplies)
  • A lack of available, suitable or affordable pet friendly rental homes
  • The pet’s behavior being an issue (can be caused by a lack of obedience training and socialisation in a lot of cases, or even a lack of exercise and stimulation)
  • And, in some parts of the world – unwanted or unplanned litters (can be magnified by a lack of responsible spaying and neutering)

 

1. Owner Has A Low Income, Or Lives In A Community With A High Poverty Rate

One of the main reasons people give up their pets is because of a low income, or living in communities with higher poverty rates.

Those earning $50,000 or less in a developed country have been identified as a an income group at significantly more risk of giving up their pet/s at some point (because they are having cost and housing issues).

Having a low income obviously means people may face challenges providing for themselves, their family, but then also paying for pet food, vet bills (check ups, vaccinations, spaying and neutering, medicine and other medical care), pet supplies and other pet related expenses such as pet boarding when the owner has to leave home for a period of time.

 

2. A Lack Of Affordable Pet Friendly Rentals

Some landlords allow pets on their rental properties, whilst others don’t.

This is another main reason people give up their pets – because they can’t find an available pet friendly rental, or they can’t find a pet friendly rental that fits in their budget.

 

3. Pet Behavioral Issues

Another main reason for pets being given up is the behavior of the pet.

Behavioral issues are often because the animal hasn’t been given the proper time for obedience or training, or isn’t socialised or exercised enough.

These behavioral issues can include chewing on furniture and house items, going to the toilet inside, barking, jumping the fence/escaping the yard, and so on.

 

4. Unwanted Litters, Or Unplanned Pet Births

Unwanted litters and unplanned pet births happen usually when dogs or cats haven’t be spayed or neutered.

Once people have one or two pets, they might not want anymore, or simply can’t care for anymore – so they have to give up the litter.

 

5. Expensive Emergency Vet Bills

In the event of a pet medical emergency – vet bills can be very high, and can be even more of an issue when the owner doesn’t have pet insurance.

Some people can not afford these bills, or haven’t planned for it and don’t have savings, and may choose not to pursue treatment once bills reach a certain amount So, the pet has to be euthanized.

 

6. Owner Moves House

The owner may have to move house, or even move countries.

In this instance, the owner can’t (due to the new living situation, or due to logistical/practical issues with the move) or may not want to take their pet with them.

 

7. Pet Is Incompatible With An Existing Or New Lifestyle Or Living Situation

This can take any number of forms such as:

  • The pet is too big or too energetic for the living area and there isn’t enough space for them
  • The pet is too big for the owners to handle long term
  • The owner gets a new job (where they might have to work more or travel more), or a romantic partner, and doesn’t have the time to commit to walking and interacting with the dog anymore
  • The family has a baby – which changes family dynamics and needs
  • Other people enter the house who have pet allergies
  • A new pet doesn’t get along with another existing pet or animal in the house

 

8. Pet Is Aggressive Towards Or Harms Other Humans Or Animals

Can include behavior like growling, lunging, snapping and biting.

Obviously, in this instance, it isn’t safe to keep the pet around other humans and animals.

This isn’t always the pet’s fault – there can be something in their environment that is making them scared, or they may not have been socialised or trained properly as an adolescent (which leads to aggression or harm to others).

 

9. The Owner Gets Too Old To Care For The Pet, Or The Owner Dies

Getting older can mean the owner becomes incapable mentally or physically to care for their pet anymore.

And obviously, if the owner passes away and there is no one else immediately to care for the animal, they will have to be given up.

 

10. Owner Experiences Physical Or Mental Health Issues

Physical or mental health issues can impact a young or middle age person’s ability to care for and keep a pet.

 

11. Other Reasons

Can include the following, but this isn’t an extensive list:

  • Owner loses their job
  • The owner gets given the pet as a birthday or Xmas gift, and never wanted the pet themselves in the first place
  • The owner simply gets bored with the pet
  • The owner tires of the responsibility that caring for a pet requires
  • The novelty of a puppy or kitten or baby animal wears off for the owner after the initial purchase – buyer’s remorse
  • People abandon or drop pets off at shelters/rescues because they don’t have the time or are too lazy to go through the proper re-homing process
  • The pet sheds too much in the house and the owner gets annoyed by it or gets sick of cleaning up
  • The owner doesn’t research pets before buying, and has false expectations, or no realistic expectations at all
  • The pet gets too old and becomes too difficult to care for, or the owner loses interest in them

 

Sources

1. https://www.thedodo.com/why-people-surrender-pets-1532254030.html

2. https://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=60176 

3. https://www.aspca.org/blog/new-study-spotlights-need-help-people-keep-their-pets

4. https://prime.peta.org/2018/09/why-people-abandon-animals

5. https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/reasons-why-some-people-give-up-a-dog-at-the-shelter.html/

6. https://www.ovenbakedtradition.com/en/why-people-give-up-their-pets/

7. https://petsforliferescue.rescuegroups.org/info/display?PageID=9515

8. https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/aspca-report-pets-given-up-to-shelters_n_56896846e4b06fa68882a134

9. https://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/pets-relinquished-shelters/

10. https://www.wideopenpets.com/british-animal-charity-reveals-real-reasons-people-give-pets/

11. https://www.nextavenue.org/why-people-give-up-beloved-pets/

12 https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/blog/breaking-news/top-reasons-people-surrendered-their-pets-2017

13 https://www.aspcapro.org/blog/2015/12/16/we-cant-fix-poverty-we-can-fix-%E2%80%A6

14. https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

15. https://www.aspca.org/about-us/press-releases/more-1-million-households-forced-give-their-beloved-pet-each-year-aspca

16. https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/about/2018-annual-report

17. https://www.petsecure.com.au/pet-care/many-pets-abandoned/

How To Grow Different Types Of Plants (Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs, Flowers & More)

How To Grow Different Types Of Plants (Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs, Flowers & More)

Although there are several factors to take into account when growing plants, the type of plant you grow is obviously one of the key factors.

There’s different types of plants to choose from – vegetables, fruit trees and bushes, herbs, flowers and so on.

In this guide, we outline what questions you might consider when figuring out how to grow different types of plants. 

Knowing requirements of different plants can obviously influence the types of plants you eventually choose to grow.

 

Summary – How To Grow Different Types Of Plants

Some plant types grow in a range of conditions and environments, whilst others need specific conditions and environments to grow.

The climate (temperature and rainfall) and soil conditions are two big considerations for a lot of plants when figuring out where and how they can grow.

To figure out how to grow different types of plants, you might start with the following steps:

  • Pick a type of plant you want to grow e.g. tomatoes
  • Visit a local gardening centre or shop, and ask someone with experience about what is required for that type of plant to grow. You can also look at the seed packets, or seedlings they have, and read the information they provide on how to grow the seeds or seedlings of a particular plant
  • Do a search engine search on ‘how to grow tomatoes’, or, ‘what tomatoes need to grow’ + any other specific search you want to know e.g. ‘what pH soil tomatoes grow in’
  • Join gardening Facebook groups, online forums and online communities where you can ask questions and get real time feedback from other gardeners on growing different types of plants

What you will end up with is a set of requirements and conditions that each particular type of plant needs to grow.

Obviously, once you know the growing requirements of a particular type of plant, you will need to test your soil, and find out the climate and growing seasons in your area where you intend to grow.

You want to match the requirements of the plant type to the soil, and climate and growing conditions in your area.

Another approach some people take is to either:

  • Simply choose versatile plant types that grow in a range of soils or climates, and conditions
  • Or, grow in raised garden beds with imported soil
  • Or, grow in a greenhouse with altered conditions
  • Or, a combination of the above – they allow you to modify how you can grow

Once you’ve researched your climate/growing area, your soil/land, and the plants you want to grow, you are ready to start growing your garden.

 

Questions You Might Need Answered For Learning How To Grow Different Types Of Plants

This is a starting list of questions you might want to know the answer to when figuring out how to grow different types of plant life (there may be others you want to find out a long the way):

  • What type of soil the plant grows best in (loam, clay, sand, silt etc.)
  • What pH of soil the plant grows best in (acidic, neutral or alkaline – most plants like the neutral or slightly acidic range)
  • What climate (temperature) the plant needs to grow
  • What season the plant should be planted in
  • When the plant should be planted
  • Whether the plant can be planted as a seed, or if it needs to be planted as a seedling or transplant from a pre-growth carton or container
  • How long the growing season is for that plant, or how fast it grows (how many days it takes to mature)
  • How many times it produces per year – several times, or once 
  • How long the plant lasts – biennials, annuals, perennials etc.
  • How to harvest the plant
  • How much water the plant needs
  • How deep the roots for the plant are (determines the depth of soil you need – 12 inches deep is a good depth to aim for)
  • How much sunlight per day the plant needs (6 hours is usually good for plants that need sunlight)
  • Nutrient and fertilizer requirements of the plant
  • What pests are common to that plant (so you know the pest control you need to implement) 
  • How the plant grows – is it a ground, bush or climbing/vine plant (these need support lattice)
  • What companion plants to a type of plant might be, and what non compatible plants might be
  • How many different varieties of a type of plant there are – for example, with broccoli, there are new varieties that can grow in warmer months (broccoli used to be a traditionally cold season crop)

An example of how to grow broccoli and the conditions it might need can be found at https://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/how-to-grow-broccoli 

You can make a list of plant types, and run through the same set of questions for each one.

You can also read about some of the other factors that affect the general growth of plants in this guide.

 

Sources

1. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/all-the-factors-that-affect-the-growth-of-plants/

2. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/beginners-step-by-step-guide-to-starting-a-garden-vegetables-fruits-herbs-flowers-more/

3. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/how-to-know-what-can-grow-in-your-garden-soil/ 

4. https://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/how-to-grow-broccoli